Which of These 12 Modelling Categories Is Right for You?

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Catwalks, keen fashion sense, and the impossibly high cheekbones of Kate Moss are all synonymous with modelling, but the industry extends far beyond the runway. Everyday folks in supermarket adverts, someone’s feet running through the sand in a holiday brochure, and the elderly couple smiling in a charity campaign are all part of the modelling ecosystem. So, which types of modelling suit you best? 

Body-part model 

Do you have exceptional hands, feet, legs, or eyes? Body-part models are hired for their individual features. For instance, long, slender hands are often used in jewellery adverts; twinkling eyes can advertise cosmetics or glasses; and straight, pearly white teeth promote dentistry and related products. If you have a standout physical feature, it could be worth creating a portfolio and sending it to prospective agents. 

Child model 

From marketing toys and children’s clothes to featuring as part of a family in TV adverts, baby and child models are continually in high demand. While cherubic, animated, and interesting-looking kids are likely to make the cut for advertisements and fashion shows, industry demands are diverse. Gone are the days when most child models looked like relatives of the Milkybar Kid. Agencies typically represent children of all ethnicities and body shapes. 

Commercial model 

Commercial modelling is a lucrative business spanning all mediums of advertising, including catalogues and magazines. Models in this niche advertise experiences, products, or services. Commercial models typically represent everyday people—specifically, the demographic being targeted by the advert. A growing desire for authenticity among audiences has resulted in more advertising campaigns using “real people,” so there’s an increasing amount of work in this field regardless of your age, ethnicity, or gender. 

Disability model 

Once left out of the diversity debate, disability models are in increasing demand. Agencies like Zebedee Talent, whose clients include The TraitorsMollie Pearce, are championing models with visible differences. Work opportunities are broad: shoots for fashion, beauty, technology, and everything in between might hire disability models as companies desire to represent a broader spectrum in their campaigns. 

Fashion model 

The industry archetype, fashion models are typically slim and tall with appealing looks, making them ideal mannequins for promoting all kinds of wearable items. They appear in the pages of magazines, in TV adverts, and on runways. Elegance, poise, and confidence in front of the camera or on a catwalk are important qualities. 

Fitness model 

A muscular or toned physique is the focus of any work as a fitness model. Folks in this category are often hired by gyms to promote their facilities or by brands to advertise workout equipment, supplements, sportswear, and wellness-adjacent products, as well as a healthy, sporty lifestyle. 

Lingerie and swimwear model 

Merging attributes of fashion and fitness, lingerie and swimwear models promote undergarments and beachwear. They’re typically expected to be toned and lithe. However, there is an increasing demand for diversity of body types in this field, especially among women. Swimwear modelling is likely to involve travel and shooting outdoors on location. 

Mature model 

There’s no hard-and-fast definition of “mature” in model years, but if you’re over 40, you might be categorised as such. It’s a varied line of work that can involve runway shows, fashion shoots, TV adverts, and marketing campaigns for consumer products. It’s also a growing industry, with companies recognising a demand amongst their target audience for products advertised by people their own age. 

Petite model 

While female fashion models usually stand above 5'9", petite models are generally between 5'1" and 5'7". You might not qualify for runway shows, which favour taller models, but you can still model fashion and beauty products in the pages of magazines or onscreen. Like all fashion models, petite models are usually slim and conventionally attractive. 

Plus-size model 

With body positivity a growing movement and the fashion industry embracing diversity in body shape, the demand for plus-size models is on the rise. It’s a broad field that could see you work in fashion, commercial, lingerie, or swimwear modelling. Plus-size models typically wear sizes 12–18. 

Promotional models 

Promotional models typically work at live events, such as trade shows. They’re used as brand ambassadors for a wide range of products, from cars to cosmetics. Commonly smiley and presentable, promotional models are often required to engage with prospective customers at events and speak on behalf of the company they’re marketing.  

Runway models 

Also known as catwalk models, runway models have the most specific height requirements: female runway models are usually over 5'9", while their male counterparts are 6'0" or taller. They’re typically thin and striking, with the gravitas to pull off high fashion. For female runway models, the ability to walk confidently in high heels is essential. 

Now you know the types of modelling work out there, it’s time to make your portfolio.